Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

  • Consider the extrajudicial killings in the past decade of Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and numerous other black Americans for which there was no fundamental legal resolution.
  • The overwhelming majority of their killers went free and some retained their jobs in law enforcement.

Be smart: Likewise, much of the economic fallout we're seeing because of the coronavirus stems largely from unresolved issues left over from the 2008 Great Recession.

  • After the recession, none of the top executives who had originated, boxed or sold the collateralized debt obligations and improperly rated mortgage-backed securities faced criminal charges.
  • And many of the big banks that profited from selling the subprime mortgages that precipitated the fallout not only survived, but thrived in the recession's aftermath.

The root cause of the 2008 crisis — rampant corporate greed — was never sufficiently contained.

  • Many of the meager protections created for everyday Americans through the Dodd-Frank financial reform act have since been clawed back by the Trump administration and the Fed.
  • And much of the reckless behavior that Dodd-Frank prohibited at banks simply moved to the unregulated shadow banking sphere and continues at much the same pace.

Between the lines: The swift action from the Federal Reserve and Congress that saved the financial system had the unintended effect of exacerbating the nation's growing income inequality. Last year, the Census Bureau reported the U.S. had its highest level of income inequality ever.

What's next: The coronavirus pandemic looks to be heading in much the same way.

  • A new recession has left at least 34 million people on government unemployment assistance and likely millions more without a job — and the difference between the reality for working- and middle-class African Americans and wealthy white Americans is stark.
  • The virus has affected black Americans at a much higher rate, largely a result of widespread economic inequality that has kept black folks in less affluent neighborhoods with more people packed into less space.

Though no vaccine has been developed, governors in every U.S. state have begun pulling back "stay at home" orders and allowing people to freely congregate in large groups and enclosed spaces again.

  • More black Americans have lost their jobs than white Americans as a result of the coronavirus-driven recession, and more stand to face evictions as most rent rather than own.
  • By contrast, wealthy Americans — who are disproportionately white — are more likely to have the flexibility to retreat to second homes or vacation homes. Existing home values actually increased in April and are poised to continue this year, real estate economists predict.

Many on Wall Street have cheered the reopening of local and state economies around the country, but with that reopening comes the removal of pandemic relief policies like eviction moratoriums.

  • Increased government unemployment benefits are set to expire right as many Americans will find themselves permanently out of a job or without an employer to go back to.
  • Meanwhile, the wealthy are increasing their savings rate. They're seeing their investment portfolios bounce back.

Consider statistics from the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank focused on economic issues facing low and middle-income Americans. The data show white middle-income households — earning between $37,201 and $61,328 per year — own an average $86,100 in assets.

  • By contrast, assets average $11,000 for black families and $8,600 for Latino families in the same income range.
  • A 2015 survey by Ariel asked Americans with household income of at least $50,000 whether they owned stocks or stock mutual funds. Eighty-six percent of whites said they did. For African-Americans, the number was 67%.

Go deeper:

Deaths without consequences

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The myth of closing the racial wealth gap by being "model minorities"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A prevailing myth about the wealth gap between white and Black Americans is that it could be closed if Black people valued hard work and education like so-called model minorities, typically Asians and other recent U.S. immigrants.

Reality check: Data shows that to be untrue. A 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics study finds that across races in the U.S., "Once families decide to invest in their children’s higher education, little difference exists in the level of expenditures between racial and ethnic groups."

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.